Egypt’s Strongman Enjoys Rock Star Status

Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.

Today’s Top Stories

1. Of the prisoners to be released, 19 are Arabs with Israeli citizenship. Israel HaYom lists who they are and the blood on their hands. Ron Ben-Yishai responds:

The decision to release murderers who are citizens of the State of Israel and allow them to return to their homes causes severe damage to Israeli sovereignty and the justice system the country is so proud of. The argument can be made that a precedent has already been set and that the murderers of Israeli civilians have been released in past prisoner exchange deals, but this time it is being done while surrendering to pressure applied by the Palestinian Authority, not by a terror organization, as was the case in the past.

The PA is becoming the representative body of the Arab Israelis – both legally and diplomatically.

2. Egyptian military chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is acquiring rock star popularity despite the deaths of protesters. Both the Wall St. Journal (click via Google News) and the Christian Science Monitor draw parallels with Gamal Abdel Nasser. The latter writes:

The elevation of General Sisi to almost legendary status when well over 200 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in clashes since he led a July 3 coup has raised cries of anguish from a small but vocal segment of Egyptians. They openly wonder how their fellow citizens – including so many who fought for democratic government in the 2011 protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak – have become so deliriously in love with the army, and worry they are blind to the potential for a return to dictatorship.

3. Heh: The Guardian did a special feature on refugees around the world that omitted Palestinian refugees. How’d that happen? Readers’ editor Chris Elliott explains.

The heart of the problem – which we should have realised sooner – lies in the fact that the 4.9 million Palestinian refugees do indeed fall under the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), not the UNHCR.

According to the UNRWA website this is because: “As UNRWA was set up in 1949, Palestine refugees were specifically and intentionally excluded from the international refugee law regime established in 1951.

Here’s a topic for the paper’s next special feature: Why should Palestinian refugees get different treatment than the millions of refugees from other places?

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4. I discussed Hamas reconciling with Iran and Hezbollah. What does this mean for Israel, the Palestinians, and the peace process? Listen to the Israel Audio News Stream.

Israel and the Palestinians

Peace talks resume. Call it talks about talks. The NY Times sums it up as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators “focus on procedural issues, like the location, schedule and format of negotiating sessions, before moving on to tackle the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Big yawn.

Following up on Yarden Frankl’s video yesterday, Herb Keinon tweets that 60’s rock legend Eric Burdon is reinstating his upcoming Tel Aviv show.

Herb Keinon

Lori Lowenthal Marcus introduces us to a Palestinian photographer for Reuters named Fadi Arouri. He opposes normalization of Israeli-Palestinian ties to the extent that he  A) spearheaded a petition to bar Israeli reporters from the West Bank, B) boycotted media events if Israeli reporters attended, and C) even insists that any Israeli journalist who speaks Arabic learned it from the Mossad.

Aurori’s opposition to normalization extends to battling the opening of an Israeli Fox clothing outlet in Ramallah.

Lots of commentary/analysis on the prisoner release.

  1. Nadav Shragai: Palestinians will view the release as a sign of Israeli weakness.
  2. Haviv Rettig Gur: The cabinet vote destroys theory that the government is in the utter thrall of right-wing settlers.
  3. David Horovitz: Of the PA’s three pre-conditions, releasing prisoners is the most damaging.
  4. Elliott Abrams: How could the US ask Israel to release Palestinian terrorists? (Shortly before this roundup went to press, YNet reported that the US released five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay as a goodwill gesture ahead of US-Taliban talks.)
  5. Khaled Abu Toameh: Iranian-Hamas reconciliation gives Tehran a foothold to disrupt peace process.

Dueling commentaries on “Jerusalem, Israel” appearing in US passports: Seth Lipsky slams the court ruling while an LA Times staff-ed prefers strict neutrality.


Arab Spring Winter

Syrian blood flows cheaply. The army fired ballistic missiles at Aleppo; meanwhile, Islamist rebels killed 150 soldiers, including 51 executed after they had surrendered. Happy Ramadan, Syria . . .

Jihadists fired a ballistic missile at an Egyptian security building in the Sinai. Three soldiers were injured. The Ministry of Interior said the missile was US-made. More at the Times of Israel.

(Image of Gen. Sisi via YouTube/BBCWorldNews Watch)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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